Leon Erasmus is no stranger to winning races, but he is one of those trainers who ticks along with (at best) average stock in small races and seldom gets the opportunity to hit the high notes. He has a decent sort on his hands in the form of Go Indigo, though, and on Saturday she rewarded the yard with a welcome success at Graded level by defying top weight to win the Three Troikas Stakes for three-year-old fillies over 1450m on the Turffontein inner course, writes MATTHEW LIPS.
Extra Zero was bet weighted in this conditions event and was well supported to start as the 17/20 favourite in a field reduced to nine by the scratching of Salsabeel. Shadows In The Sun found few friends in the market and went off as the 6/1 second favourite from an ante-post call of 7/2, with Vivacious Star (7/1) and Go Indigo (8/1) most favoured of the others in a race which forms an important part of the lead-up to the Gauteng Fillies Guineas later this month.
Extra Zero was allowed to wait at the back of the field as Rosehip took off like a scalded cat and opened up a lead which must have been the best part of seven lengths at one stage. Larussa and Shadows In The Sun were next in line, although Amazing Grace made some ground wide out on the turn to race into third spot turning for home.
Not surprisingly, Rosehip began to stagger inside the last 400m and soon did a vanishing act, leaving Shadows In The Sun briefly in front as Awesome Beauty moved in contention as well. Go Indigo was starting a strong run from well off the pace, though, with Extra Zero also launching a bold bid wide out, but Go Indigo was clearly going best of all inside the last 200m. Go Indigo always had first run on the favourite and ran on well under Sherman Brown to beat Extra Zero by 1.5 lengths, with Awesome Beauty half-a-length further back in third and Shadows In The Sun a further neck behind in fourth after having every chance. Vivacious Star made no show with first time blinkers and was beaten a total of 5.70 lengths into sixth.
Extra Zero didn’t appear to run within some four pounds of her best form, if not more, but Go Indigo did well to beat her comfortably on 4 kgs worse terms than would have applied in a handicap. This may still not be Fillies Guineas-winning form, but Erasmus’ charge is going the right way and gives every indication that she most likely will stay a mile. If nothing else, she has more than earned a tilt at the opening leg of the Gauteng Triple Tiara, and barring some rather unexpected raiders from the Western Cape this doesn’t promise to be the hottest Fillies Guineas ever.
Go Indigo is only the second Stakes and first Graded Stakes winner sired by the Gone West horse Indigo Magic, a son of Epsom Oaks winner Lady Carla with a million dollar pedigree but no great shakes as a stallion. She is the first foal of Kabool mare Egyptian Reign, who won one races over 1400m. Go Indigo was bred by Barbara Sanne’s Oldlands Stud and failed to reach her R40 000 reserve when offered in the ring at the 2010 KZN Yearling Sale (which, in the topsy-turvy days immediately preceding the FIFA World Cup, was actually held in Gauteng that year). She has won four of her 11 starts, earning R268 325 in stakes.
Three Troikas S. (SAf-G3) (2/4)
Turffontein, South Africa, February 4, R165.000, 1450m, turf, good, 1.28.17 (CR 1.25.80).
GO INDIGO (SAF), 58.0, gr f 3, Indigo Magic (GB) – Egyptian Reign (SAF) by Kabool (GB). Owner J D Botha; breeder Oldlands Stud (SAF); trainer L J Erasmus; jockey S Brown (R103.125)
Extra Zero (SAF), 56.0, b f 3, Way West (AUS) – Haifaa (IRE) by Doyoun (IRE)
Awesome Beauty (SAF), 56.0, b f 3, Cataloochee (SAF) – Bejewelled Beauty (SAF) by Rambo Dancer
Margins: 1½, ½, nk
Also ran: Shadows In The Sun (SAF) 56.0, Larussa (SAF) 56.0, Vivacious Star (SAF) 54.0, Amazing Grace (SAF) 54.0, Rosehip (SAF) 56.0, Secret Fort (SAF) 54.0